Control Gaging, a supplier of in-process gaging systems, on Wednesday unveiled a new concept for production gaging in lean manufacturing environments - integration of precision gages into part transport automation to provide automatic measurement of part size during the part load/unload cycle.

Control Gaging's quick setup gages can now be mounted on the gantry and robot end-effectors, enabling measurement of a part while it's in the grip of automation devices. Measurements can be used for part sorting, tool compensation, statistical process control and Cpk analysis - a perfect concept for Lean Manufacturing programs and speeding production line flow.

This gaging technique can be applied to turning, grinding and other metal cutting processes where automation is used to speed production. These factory-hardened precision gages can be set up in less than 30 seconds. The data provided by the gages can be used by production managers to monitor quality, improve process control and remove out-of-tolerance products from the part stream. Additionally, parts can be pre-checked to avoid tool damage

Based on the lean manufacturing principle of "value-added flow", the system requires no additional floor space, reduces cycle time and can eliminate the need for hand-loaded or robot-loaded bench gages.

Control Gaging has more than 30 years experience in the design and manufacture of factory hardened gaging systems. The gage heads mounted to the automation employ a patented "slip-clutch" which keeps setup time under 30 seconds and protects the gage head from damage when excessive force is applied to the gage contacts.

The gages have a guaranteed repeatability of .0005mm (.000 020"). System accuracy and repeatability depends on part type, surface finish and gripper design.

These gages can handle a range of parts and the quick setup feature reduces part changeover costs. Part contacts to extend the range of the gages can be installed and set up in less than five minutes. Currently, gage configurations are available for outside diameter measurement on drivetrain parts, electric motor shafts, and crankshafts. Additional applications are under development.